Ask for a pay rise

If you think you're worth more money, it doesn't hurt to ask for more. We talk you through how to ask for a pay rise.

Boy holding coins

Holding your money above your head doesn't count as a pay 'rise'

Why should I ask for a pay rise?

If you’ve been in your job a while and your salary has stayed the same, you might feel you’re worth a pay rise. Alternatively, you might have taken on additional responsibilities, or become a mentor for a newer member of staff. Generally, if things are going well it can be worthwhile asking for more money.

How should I approach my boss about a pay rise?

Rather than collaring your boss in the lift or in the pub, make an appointment to have a proper chat in the office. Denise Taylor, author of How to Get a Job in a Recession, says you should do your research and be well prepared. “The research needs to include being clear on what you are doing in your job and also what other people earn for similar sorts of work,” she says.

What reasons should I give for deserving a rise?

Steer clear of simply needing more money to pay your bills or go on holiday. You need to ask for more money in the context of the benefit you bring to the company.

Marielena Sabatier, CEO of Inspiring Potential, a company that aims to help people reach their potential at work, says: “Arm yourself with facts. Give specific examples of your achievements where your performance has had a benefit on the organisation, e.g. in helping increase sales or improve customer relationships.”

How much should I ask for?

Websites such as and’s salary checker tell you the average salary for your role or profession. It’s also worth making some subtle investigations to find out what your colleagues are earning. When negotiating, don’t be afraid to start off with a high figure – your boss is unlikely to agree straight away but may meet you in the middle. “Asking for a rise of £1,000 sounds like a lot, but if you asked for 50p an hour it seems much more reasonable,” says Denise.

If you’ve been offered another job with more money then use that as a negotiating tool. Never threaten to leave if your request is turned down – unless you’re willing to carry out your threat, that is.

What else can I ask for?

Don’t forget benefits when it comes to negotiating a salary. If your discussions aren’t going particularly well, it’s worth trying to work into the package benefits that cost next to nothing for your employer, but mean a great deal to you. This could include things like flexible working, corporate gym membership or more holiday entitlement.

How do I negotiate?

Kevin Dougall, managing director of graduate recruitment and training consultancy Tom Gibson, says good negotiation skills are essential when you’re asking for more cash. “Perhaps of most importance for young people who are trying to negotiate is developing awareness, patience and good communication skills,” he says. “Be patient and accept that there may not be an instant result. Listen hard and watch body language. One of the key communication skills, and therefore negotiation skills, is to be a good listener.”

Offering to take on more responsibility could help your case. Ask whether there are additional tasks you could take on or junior members of staff you could mentor to justify your request for a raise.

How should I respond if my request is rejected?

If your request for a pay rise is turned down, don’t be afraid to ask why. In the current economic climate it might simply be that the company can’t afford it.

If the answer is more personal, ask what you need to do to justify an increase, and how you go about achieving this. This will give you some clear objectives going forward and something to measure your progress against. At worst, it will identify whether or not you need to contemplate changing jobs.

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work pay

By Emma Lunn

Updated on 29-Sep-2015